~Map of Avenan and its Kingdoms~
Avenan is a large and diverse continent on Everra, surrounded by the dark Everran sea. It is split into two main kingdoms, Silon and Craven, and a forbidden area called Whiddah, which neither kingdom claims. It is a beautiful land, a living entity unto itself, defending and providing for its own. In times of need, it influences interpreters (known as Forest-speakers) and Echana* through dreams and a manifestation of itself known as the Rover, a unique voice formed by the sounds of the wind and trees. The soil is fertile and productive, and boasts a wealth of flora and fauna, from the elegant spotted muedeer to the old, dense forests full of secrets. It is an ancient land, heavy with lore and promise, but it is also a land wracked by wars. Its history is filled with heroes, villains, and great bloody battles borne from the constant contention for leadership among the various races. Many kings have tried unsuccessfully to unite the kingdoms, and their successors will inevitably try forever.
*Echana (Ee-khan-ah) A person (or persons) chosen as an instrument through which the Rover can accomplish its will, usually to bring an end to strife. They are fighters and leaders, and revered in history for miraculous deeds.
Places on the Map
(Listed alphabetically by kingdom)
The Kingdom of Silon:
Home to the silene people. It is the largest of the kingdoms, fertile and beautiful, and the most fought-over territory in Avenan.
Bracken (Swamp) A general term for any large area of marshland.
Cliffs of Meoddrey Sheer cliffs that run along the western edge of Avenan and meet the sea. Until the collapse of Saberondan there used to be sloping beaches and inlets for ports and the Meoddrey shipbuilding trade.
Forest of Illusions A wide but narrow stretch of dark forest between Nefar and Meoddrey, also known as the Woods of Dreams. It is a cursed, twisted place of stunted trunks, jagged roots and tangled vines, feared and avoided by travelers. There is a tale told that once it was a serene and beautiful forest, fond of a small child with a flute. But thaurons from the sea murdered the child in passing through. The forest fell into a deep depression, withering away over time and smoldering with intense hate. Any creature that enters its wood with a troubled heart will be driven to destruction by the phantoms hidden within. (See the Mistress of Illusion and Faeren’s Character bios for more detailed information.)
Holpensgate A valley town south of Redgate, known for its carpentry goods and smithies.
King’s Highway A trade and travel route connecting all populated areas in Silon and Craven.
Lake Syr A vast lake fed by the Syr and Nefar rivers, providing most of Silon’s flowing water.
Laron With high brick walls and crowded alleys, it is Silon’s second largest city. Several nearby farming communities supply most of the produce and livestock for Redgate and other cities.
Lost Isles The outer fringe of Silon’s western coast, broken away by the ensuing tidal wave from Saberondan’s collapse.
Marcale Forest An intimidating forest comprised mainly of giant, spidery white kipul trees, giving it an unnatural, ghostly appearance. It is known for tricks of light and shadow, confusing and misleading creatures who venture inside, protecting its people and the sanctuary of Widdenwael hidden at its heart. Every night a dismal gray mist seeps from the roots of the trees and hangs thick over the ground. The colors of Marcale remain unchanged throughout the seasons, like a dead wood, but it is very much alive. It shelters the little race of marcale that call its shadows home.
Milos A city belonging to the Ish, a people tentatively allowed to dwell on the far eastern border of Silon. Its name changes with each successive ruler.
Nefar Mountains Rugged land dominating the northern edge of Silon. Its peaks are often snowcapped year-round and riddled with caves. It is mostly wilderness, unsettled by silenes, though the Ish are rumored to have hidden camps throughout the territory.
Nefarine Tree (Click here for Illustration) A colossal tree spanning the gulf of the Syr River. Towering several hundred feet into the air, it arcs unnaturally to the side. A platform, supported by thick wooden brackets hammered into the bark, spirals upward around the trunk and forms a walkway into the height of the branches, serving as a bridge across the gulf.
Old Bay The flooded remnants of what was once Meoddrey’s largest sea-port.
Passage to Saberondan An ancient undersea tunnel connecting the mainland to Saberondan, taking two days to traverse on foot.
Redgate Capital city of Silon, a marvel of design as glorious in architecture as the red castle to which it connects. The houses have several tiers and sweep toward the sky, their flat roofs joined together by arches and walkways suspended above the streets. The bottom structures house businesses and shops, while families live in the top stories. Schools and a library make it a place of wealth and knowledge.
Redgate Castle A many-towered castle built of red stone the quarries of Nefar, it overlooks the city from a turret-like hill. Its spires pierce the clouds far above an encompassing wall and surrounding courtyard, and high gates guard the road to and from the city.
Saberondan An island off the west coast of Silon which harbors a fortified black castle and a moderate farming village. Perched atop black cliffs, it is accessible only by the undersea passage and a single bay on the southern tip. It was placed under the rule of Princess Mereet by the king of Silon, and serves as a watchtower for Silon’s mainland.
Saberondan Castle A grand castle hewn from the black rock cliffs of Saberondan, standing like a barrier between land and sea. Walls of stone branch out like arms to encircle the southern tip of the island. Battlements face outward across the sea to proclaim the might of Silon. A rusty weathervane in the shape of a leviathan tops the highest spire.
Sanvael A village on the border of Silon and Craven used as a refugee town during the Outcast War.
Shore Village Once a thriving sea-port, it is the largest surviving village on Silon’s west coast.
Syr River Main tributary feeding into and extending from Lake Syr to carve its way across the lower portion of Silon and Craven.
Valley of Thorns A semi-circular valley in Nefar choked with briars and thorns, some as thick and tall as trees. Dark roses bloom amid the twisted vines. Legend has it that once a great battle was fought in the valley, so savage that the land could not bear it. Avenan stole the lives of the fighters, caring not for race or rank, and transformed them into thorns or roses, whichever their natures most resembled. They remain locked together for eternity, their arms entwined, fighting still.
Widdenwael A mysterious fortress-like sanctuary built within the dark confines of Marcale Forest. Surrounded by a giant wall, it shelters orphaned and abandoned children from across the realm. It is supported by donations of food and other supplies from Redgate and Laron.
The Kingdom of Craven: (Krah-ven)
Mountainous country abundant in forests and wildlife, home to the Craven tribes.
Craven Gorge An immense river-carved canyon in the Vael Mountains. A rope bridge spanning the gulf connects the King’s highway to the isolated village of Mkiras.
Gatepost City Craven’s capital. Residence of the kingdom’s nobility, it is a tall, spiked castle nestled in a crevasse of the Vael Mountains. Built like a giant gate into Craven heartland, it houses a prosperous city within its walls.
Great Sea Falls A landmark waterfall fed by the river Syr and several smaller rivers in Craven and Whiddah, cascading spectacularly over the Cliffs of Meoddrey into the sea.
Maura’s village One of many small villages scattered throughout Craven. Home to Maura and her family.
Mirror Lake A serene lake in the foothills of the Vael Mountains.
Mkiras One of the few towns where craven openly mingle with other races. Hospitable to travelers and famous for its taverns, it is used by Faldevon’s army as a supply base.
Old Highway An unfinished and abandoned portion of the King’s Highway along the coast of Craven.
Outpost Villages Three villages positioned along the border of Whiddah, built to house soldiers and their families in annual shifts to guard against invasion from Whiddah tribes. They are shared by both craven and silene soldiers, though never at the same time.
Soll Plains An unbroken plain of waving golden grass on the southeast end of Craven.
Vael Mountains A rocky, treacherous mountain range claimed solely by the Craven tribes.
The small southernmost portion of Avenan sometimes referred to as the wastelands, and regarded as a kingdom only by the savage and exiled keure. It is a dangerous and forbidden region, wild and unmapped. The more civilized races of Avenan carefully guard against it.
People of Avenan
The Silene (Sy-leen): Fair and slender people with a love of beauty and order and a fondness for music and tales, the Silenes are social and openly emotional creatures, governed by the laws and ordinances set down through time and enforced by the royal family. Their ears are long and tapered and sweep back from their heads. The vivid color of their eyes indicates life and health, and will fade if a Silene becomes sick or wounded. Their eyes will become colorless at death. Very rarely will a silene be born with pale or gray eyes (dead eyes), and such an individual is generally mistrusted and outcast from society. A silene’s pregnancy term is a year in length, and only one child can be born at a time; there is no such thing as twin birth. Silenes possess the kingdom of Redgate and its island Saberondan, and while they are normally peaceful and quiet folk, they are strong and resilient and fiercely protective of their own. They can live up to 200 years, though the frequency of wars usually prevents most from ever reaching that wizened age.
The Craven (Krah-ven): Intelligent, proud and fiercely territorial, they are a mountain-dwelling people who prefer to remain within their own borders, and rarely venture out into the surrounding regions except to trade and gossip. Their ears are downswept, their skin tanned, their dark hair most often worn braided with beads. They are fearless fighters and expert survivalists, stealthy and agile, and skilled in the art of weaponry and cliff-building (dwellings made inside or attached to the sides of ravines). Women are highly regarded in their culture, and afforded the greatest respect when pregnant, sequestering themselves away in special palaces reserved for just such occasions. A Craven woman can claim leadership of a tribe under certain circumstances, though she must have borne at least one child.
The Marcale (Mar-kail): Short, green-skinned elves who have the ability to change their skin tone to match their surroundings. They dwell primarily in hidden caverns in the white forest of Marcale. Their ears are smaller and more pointed than the Silenes, their eyes always green or brown, and they tend to wear leaves or twigs in their hair or on their clothes. Their height never reaches above 4 feet. Marcale are docile, shy, and elusive for the most part, rarely seen outside of forest cover, and have the gift of forest-speak (understanding nature).
The Ish: Though not a large tribe by any accounts, they are an untrustworthy and suspicious lot. Pale and cattish in appearance with their slanted eyes, their greed and fondness for causing discomfort to other races has made them something of a legend. They dwell in solitary places, far in the eastern regions of Craven and Silon, and make it a habit to brew trouble and play tricks on other people. Ish are not content with having small portions of land if they think they can win more, but they are flighty and quick to accept defeat, and thus aren’t so hard to control as to tolerate. They have one main city with a king, and numerous holds that are secret to all but the Ish. Nobody knows for sure where the pesky race came from or why they’re so meddlesome and annoying, but it is generally believed that they are the remnants of a lost culture. They have strange fetishes with collecting trinkets, and often wear long-sleeved tunics to hide the extendable claws in their wrists.
The Mimic: A harmless, wandering race of halfbreeds, children of many races, enemies of none and living nowhere in particular, though they are fond of Whiddah territory because of its isolation. They are beggars and entertainers, roaming alone or in troupes, and wear bright, colorful clothing. Their ears are short and often deformed, and their eyes usually gray or black. They are a curious, restless people, fluent in all languages by trade, and therefore good at negotiation and spying. They are protected as a rule by an old legend that nobody believes but that all respect, grudgingly or otherwise. It is considered bad luck to refuse a mimic in need of food or shelter.
The Ghirna (Gurr-nah): Giant, furred, hare-like creatures with wings and sharp talons. They are a dwindling tribe of night-hunters and smooth talkers (though rather loud and long-winded), and have the gift of language with all species. They served the silenes as allies in past wars, and now roam where they will, having dens high in the mountaintops. They generally keep to themselves and have few enemies, though they will fight brutally if threatened.
The Thauron (Thow-rahn): A strong and brutish race inhabiting the land of Thauron, a densely populated continent and group of islands a month’s journey by sea from Avenan. They are a hardy people known for their greed, and dwindling resources force their expansion into other lands. This raises tension with the people of Avenan. A weak alliance is forged between the two countries allows commerce and travel, but no surety. Thaurons are masters of sea and land, brilliant in architecture and shipbuilding, and jealously guard the secret of forging Archanite, a virtually unbreakable metal unknown in Avenan. In appearance they are similar to silenes, though their greater is stature, their ears shorter and smaller, and their features sharper. They have dark or silver hair and narrow eyes ranging in color from black to gold, which have earned their race the nickname ‘dark-eyes’. Obsessively ambitious, they live in hierarchical societies built on wit and strength. They form strong familial bonds, but dedication and compassion extends only to kin. The only drawback to their strength is a low tolerance for stress or defeat–if trapped, they may become prone to rash judgment and even insanity. Unlike silenes, their lifespan rarely exceeds 100 years.
The Illusionists:A recent, fast-spreading tribe of people and creatures who have entered into a symbiosis with nature. The First One, a man who escaped the prolonged terrors of the Forest of Illusions, took with him the Forest’s ability to deceive with light and shadow and to communicate with nature on a level above that of Forest-Speakers. This trait is passed on through intimate contact or injury, in which the “virus” can be transferred from one person to another. Illusionists can only live in forests or areas with an abundance of flora and water. They are distinguishable by their bright green eyes and the appearance of moss and plant-like veins on their skin, though it may take years for these changes to manifest. Fire, drought, and isolation are their only weaknesses, though they will also become drowsy and sluggish in the fall and hibernate during the winter with the rest of nature. They are considered a threat and a disease by most other races because of their lack of self-control and the tendency to take from their surroundings without giving back.
Other Commonly-Mentioned Creatures
Blues Rare, iridescent blue butterflies that flock to music, and sometimes dwell near kind-hearted people. During the springtime, they gather in large numbers in secret meadows, and can be mistaken for a field of blue flowers until the grass is disturbed.
Brush-vermin Small, hairy gray rodents that lurk in forest undergrowth. They are voracious scavengers with long twitching ears and pointed teeth.
Firehops Glowing insects that gather in large swarms in the spring. They put on a display at night by springing repeatedly into the air by the thousands. Entire fields and meadows can be lit brilliantly.
Keure (Kee-yoor) Creatures of Whiddah who share a love of battle and weaponry. Reptilian in nature and appearance, their black skin is glossy and scaled. Swift of foot, they are not especially intelligent, superstitious and flighty, and instinctively follow the strongest individual who asserts himself as a leader. They are savage hunters, living in low hills and forested areas, and never stay in one place more than a generation or two. They have a private language of hisses and clicks, and prefer the darkness, more active at night than by day. They sing dismal songs of doom to the watchmen of the Outpost and Border villages.
Lirewen The most beautiful birds in Avenan, prized for their long, bushy purple feathers. They have a low, mournful cry, like the keen of a lost soul, and many legends surround them. (See Semiyar’s Character Bio for the telling of one)
Muedeer Large, spotted antelope with spiral horns that live in dense thickets and are extremely elusive.
Sesyte Black-tailed gulls that nest exclusively along shorelines.
Spotted Eskwe Short-legged, black and gold deer with long ears that dwell primarily in marshlands and depend on camouflage and tricks for survival.
Dawnbird A most notorious bird for its habit of rousing sleepers every morning with boisterous singing.
Vidaug Gaunt, hideous dogs with fur like moss and claws like knives. They dwell in underground networks of burrows camouflaged by grass or rocks, invisible to the casual observer. They are sightless, for they need no eyes, coming out in the darkness of night to snag any hapless critter walking too close to their den. They can sense heat and movement, and attack in packs. They are quick and efficient, their mouths full of razored teeth.